Today’s Google Doodle is in celebration of the independence of Morocco. Morocco Independence Day, also called National Day of Morocco, is a jubilant celebration of Morocco’s independence from French colonial rule.
While people have lived in Morocco for thousands of years, the modern Kingdom of Morocco had its roots in the First World War. As early as the 1830s, European nations and especially France had expressed interest in the developing nation of Morocco as a strategic place for colonization, given that Egypt and other North African lands were becoming increasingly uncontrollable from Istanbul, the seat of European influence in the Southern Mediterranean and Western Asia at the time. In 1904, Great Britain officially recognized the influence of France in Morocco, sparking an angry reaction from Germany. The crisis was resolved in 1906 at the Algeciras Conference in Spain, which entrusted both France and Spain with policing in Morocco. However, Germany sent the gunboat Panther to the Moroccan port of Agadir in 1911, causing the Second Moroccan Crisis, exacerbating the tense relations between Germany and the rest of Europe. The crisis was resolved by the Treaty of Fez, signed in 1912, officially making Morocco a protectorate of France. From that point forward, Morocco was a French colony, and Moroccan soldiers even served in the French Army in both World Wars.
Under the new French apartheid colonial government, native Moroccans were denied even basic rights, such as the freedom of speech and the right to travel within the country. Even education was denied to the natives, and only the children of a few favored Moroccan noble families were educated in solely French society, art, and culture. After World War II, however, a new nationalist generation arose in Morocco, pushing for rule by Moroccans. They based their calls for independence on contemporary documents such as the U.S.’s Atlantic Charter, which asserted, among other things, the right of a country to determine what sort of government it will have.
In response, the French government exiled King Mohammed V and replaced him with their own favorite for the throne. The Moroccan people formed an army, called the Liberation Army in English, whose sole purpose was to carry out operations to facilitate the return of Mohammed V. In 1955, King Mohammed V was allowed to return from his exile, and immediately began negotiations with the French for Moroccan Independence. In 1956, France officially relinquished its protectorate in Morocco, and the nation became an independent country.
In celebration of Morocco Independence Day, Google in Morocco is displaying this Doodle for 24 hours on November 18, 2011, Morocco’s 55th National Day of Independence.